Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

The Tattletale

While we were growing up, my sister, Celeste, was the world’s biggest tattletale. Regardless of the severity of any transgression committed by my brother or me, the first indication of any wrongdoing was greeted with: “Ummmm, I’m telling . . . .” And it made no difference whatsoever whether said offense concerned her in any way. It was her mission in life to be a narc.

            Celeste emulated Cindy Brady from the 70’s sitcom, The Brady Bunch. Like Cindy, Celeste was the youngest child in the family. They both spoke with an infantile cadence that sounded baby-like. My sister maintained this persona well into high school, continuing to drink out of a sippy cup until she was 16 years old.

            The inspiration behind her proclivity towards snitchery was an episode where Cindy Brady was constantly tattling on her brothers and sisters. Cindy’s actions had alienated her from her family, and she learned that unless somebody was being harmed, it is usually best not to be a tattletale. There was a time and a place.

            Evidently, Celeste missed the moral taught by the 30-minute episode. She took sadistic pride in getting her brothers in trouble. Thus, my sister was regarded with a great deal of distrust.


            I had taken up playing guitar when I was in 6th grade, and by the time I was in high school, I was perpetually trying to start up bands. Our neighbor, Charu Cockrobin, was a drummer who was frequently involved in these endeavors.

            During my early career as a musician, I would encounter parents who were fully supportive of their son’s aspirations. They’d get to know the players, hang out at practice, take pictures and do what they could to help out.

            My mother, in contrast, was intolerant of the volume levels, hated our playlist and was leery of teenagers hanging out in the garage. Frequently, musicians were banned from the premises, and anything remotely resembling a party was outright verboten. I was still struggling with the reality that my home just wasn’t meant to be the bandhouse.

            One evening when my mother was out, Charu and I got the urge to jam. He could use my brother’s drum kit, we figured, and we had a ready-made audience in the large group of friends who were hanging out on the corner. Only one thing stood in the way – Celeste! I had been put in charge of watching my ten-year-old sister for the night. Surely she would tell if we were to pull out the gear.

            Then I got an inspiration. . . .

            I carried my sister’s plastic chord organ down to the garage and invited her to play. After all, Celeste would not tell on us if she were a willing participant, right?

            She was reluctant at first, but Celeste eventually joined in on the music. It did not matter that her repertoire was limited to songs like On Top of Old Smokey and Comin’ Round the Mountain. Nobody could hear her organ’s fan-blown stylings over my 60-watt amp and Charu’s relentless skin pounding. Nevertheless, Celeste just sat to the side fingering random notes on her plastic keyboard in her own little world as we entertained our fans. We opened the garage door to accommodate the growing crowd.

            “You sound really good,” the teenage girls told her. I had discretely instructed them to encourage her. “You should join the band!”

            As time wore on, car loads of older kids dropped by. People were showing up from all over the neighborhood on foot, by bike or with dogs. The sound seemed to really carry that night. Neighbors we hadn’t seen for years stopped by to join the party.

            Then my brother Judas (not Iscariot) came home with a friend, saw my sister on the plastic organ, and immediately recognized the brilliance of my plan. “Genius!” he exclaimed.


            The next evening, my mother confronted me. “Celeste told me what you did to her. She felt so guilty she that she felt like she needed to come clean.” Like any astute parent, my mother was able to easily discern my motives, rationale and objectives from between the lines of my sister’s account.

            NO WAY! Celeste had now sunk to new depths of tattledom. I went straight to Jude after being berated by my mother for having a party at the house. “You won’t believe it!” I exclaimed as I informed him of what had just happened.

            “She told on herself?” Jude shrieked in disbelief.

            This incident officially propelled Celeste into infamy and landed her in the Tattletale Hall of Fame. She was willing to sacrifice herself rather than let one of us get away with anything. The girl just wasn’t right!

            As for me, the resulting fallout marked the permanent silencing of music in our house. Practice at my place just wasn’t an option; I would play elsewhere. With the exception to Jude, none of my family would hear any of my bands play until I was grown, and even this was rare.

            Obviously, any trust for my sister had been eradicated. She and I would never perform together ever again.


One Response to “The Tattletale”

  1. Stuff like this makes me glad all over again that I am an only child 🙂

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